Sensitivity & the Meaning of Home – From Fantasy to Reality

One of the first challenges for a highly sensitive person in finding a sense of belonging can be relinquishing notions they have of what home means. Most of us carry childhood notions of what home should be like, and for most sensitives, their notion of home is not what they experienced as children. There is a kind of sorting out process where a sensitive names what they did experience “at home”, identifies what they carry as a fantasy of “home” and then clarifies what they actually need, based on their sensitivities and awarenesses in order to feel “home”.

Beyond letting go of childhood ideals, there are cultural fantasies about home and community that we carry. While there are real communities and places where one can feel belonging, these places and what it takes to create and sustain them may or may not be congruent with who you are.

Old notions of home may prevent you from defining: what belonging means to you, where you feel belonging and how you need to house yourself to feel home. How you relate to the rooms of your home, your yard, your neighborhood and the larger world need to be determined by what works for you, rather than by preconceived notions of what you “should” do.

It is unlikely that you will relate to home the way others do. For example – all those lovely photos in home magazines do not show: the noisy streets and loud neighbors, the barking dogs, the outgassing furniture and carpet, the hum of the appliances or the lights, or the low level electromagnetic buzz you hear. You feel, sense, respond to so much more than is ever depicted in a magazine, or than most people attend to.

Part of honoring your sensitive nature may include learning what you need to do to limit the input you get from external sources. The room you sleep in may be the quietest room in the house, not the master bedroom. The place you spend time may have the quality of light you most prefer, rather than being a room designated for the activities you perform in that space.

As someone who may be highly attuned to nuances of light, spatial flow, acoustics or other environmental features, you most likely spend your life picking up sensory input that most other people ignore or do not experience. Living in a world that is not designed for sensitives, you have few opportunities to discover and celebrate your preferences and needs in the built environment. It can be especially helpful for you to seek out those extraordinary places in the built environment where you feel at peace and name what works for you in those settings.